You could consider this a medical condition for women, since females have a ten percent higher chance of being affected than men. Though medical professionals do not fully understand the condition, there are millions of Americans suffering with it in any given year.
What is fibromyalgia? That is one question that cannot be explained in specific terms, since it is not medically clear what is happening inside the body. In most cases, this question is answered with a list of symptoms that generally merit a diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. It is considered a “syndrome” because it is a collection of symptoms, rather than a proven medical condition with internal causes.
- Aches and pains all over the body
- Extreme fatigue (patients often undergo Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatment for this)
- Low pain tolerance
- Tender spots
- Sleeping problems
- Dry mouth, nose, eyes
- Extreme sensitivity to cold and heat
- Difficulty concentrating
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Stiff muscles
- Extreme menstrual pain
It is the aching and constant yet unexplained pain that brings most people to seek medical attention for fibromyalgia. There is no medical explanation for the pain and aching that is felt all over the body by these patients, which is why many medical professionals once suspected that it was all in their head.
The symptoms can be experienced in different ways by different patients. One person may have certain spots on the body that ache and hurt all the time, while another person has general achiness all over. Most patients do find it difficult to sleep well, with many feeling exhausted even after getting a solid night of sleep. The sleep problems are often a result of the constant pain, which makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
Fibromyalgia Treatment Options
Since it is unclear what is causing the symptoms of fibromyalgia, most patients are treated for the symptoms. The goal is to keep them as comfortable as possible so they are able to carry through with work and other responsibilities of life. To date, there are no medications, therapies or other treatments that can cure anyone of fibromyalgia.
This is a syndrome that must be suffered out over time. This leads many patients to use natural and alternative treatments in their desperation to find relief of the constant pain. Most patients will take a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications to target the different symptoms that they experience. They may also work through physical therapy or exercise regimes, despite the amount of pain that is often experienced during exercise. Massage and acupuncture may be used by some patients to help control the pain.
Living with Fibromyalgia
It is incredibly difficult to live with fibromyalgia. The low energy levels and constant pain make it very difficult for sufferers to get out of bed and carry on with daily life. Most sufferers will end up calling off work, missing special activities and moments with their children, and staying in bed rather than interacting with their families and friends. They are often seen as complainers or whiners by other people who do not understand the pain and aching they feel throughout their body.
It is common for those diagnosed with fibromyalgia to lose their job or have a lot of difficulty keeping their jobs. They find it difficult to move and exercise, and that makes it difficult to go to work and do their job. The extreme fatigue and sleep disturbances further interrupt the ability to keep a job.
What is fibromyalgia? No one really knows for sure, but for now it is a syndrome believed to be related to arthritis in some manner.